Tags: Capitalist | socialist | free market | ideas

Why the US Is Not Turning Socialist

By Wednesday, 18 June 2014 08:21 AM Current | Bio | Archive

"Capitalism is dead in America," say some conservatives who think younger generations no longer care about our country's founding free market principles. The evidence I see says exactly the opposite.

In fact, today's under-30 population is embracing and practicing capitalism with an enthusiasm I never saw in my own youth. They are avoiding the once-common mistake of equating "big business" with capitalism. Information technology lets them turn innovative ideas into cash-generating businesses faster than we ever dreamed possible.

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Older Americans could learn a thing or two from today's young entrepreneurs. I certainly did when I went to a TechCrunch "pitch-off" event in Austin, Texas this month. Eight people with business ideas had one minute to describe their idea to a panel of venture capitalists. The venture capitalists then asked questions and selected a winner at the end.

The profit motive was evident on both sides. The judges asked tough questions on how the ideas could grow and make money. The competitors gave good answers. I feel confident all will end up running successful businesses. Some already do, on a small scale (so far).

The multiracial audience of several hundred, mostly in their 20s, was anything but socialist. They grumbled when judges asked some contestants how they would deal with regulatory obstacles, clearly wishing government would get out of the way.

The competitors didn't complain about heavy-handed government interference. Instead, they acknowledged the challenge and calmly explained how they would overcome it.

Without a doubt, the people I saw at the Austin pitch-off are free market capitalists. They recognize opportunities, find ways to solve them at a profit and look forward to the rewards. Yet survey data for this demographic group — plus the fact that Austin is the least-conservative city in Texas — suggests most were Obama voters in 2008 and 2012, if they voted at all. How can this be?

My guess is they just don't think about politics. Having grown up in a deeply cynical era, they've learned to ignore ideological debates that have no immediate impact on their lives. They are too busy trying to pay student loans and find some way to make a living.

Of course, not everyone in this generation is an entrepreneur. Some just want a job. Some depend on their parents. Some live on welfare and/or crime. I feel confident, however, that those with capitalist instincts will avoid socialism . . . Obama's best efforts notwithstanding.

Online crowdfunding sites now connect ideas with investment capital faster and more easily than ever. Will every new startup turn into a sustainable business? No, but many will. The next decade will bring a wave of capitalist innovation.

So don't worry about the free market in America. It's alive and safe.

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PatrickWatson
"Capitalism is dead in America," say some conservatives who think younger generations no longer care about our country's founding free market principles. The evidence I see says exactly the opposite.
Capitalist, socialist, free market, ideas
478
2014-21-18
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 08:21 AM
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